Cinnamon Applesauce Cupcakes {vegan}


I’ll tell you why I didn’t want to be vegan.

  1. Some vegan food is just too weird.
  2. Vegans are SERIOUS about being vegan.

I’ll address these in order, then.

So, vegan food is weird. I’m not really talking about recipes, like the obsession with dates (okay, I AM on board with that), and the way everyone is head over heels for “nana ice cream.” I’m talking about weird replacement products. Like pretend mayonnaise or egg substitutes.

I get it. Lots of people become vegan for lots of different reasons, and they want options. Land of the free, people! Don’t ask us to give up bacon and BLTs and cheeseburgers and omelettes just because we want to save the planet and have better skin.

But I’m grossed out by imitation products. I think they have value, and I even approach them cautiously from time to time (almond cheese: not as scary as you’d imagine). But mayonnaise in a jar is freaky enough – and now there is SOY mayonnaise?? My stars.

Let’s not even talk about seitan.

(Look. I’m GOING to try it. I’m just not ready yet.)


Secondly! Veganism is for real. One of my favorite podcasters, Jessica Murnane from One Part Plant, talks about this. She calls herself a plant-based eater instead of a vegan because she eats honey, and the vegan community will revolt if she calls herself vegan and eats honey from bees.

I respect passion. I have lots of it. I’m just afraid of saying I’m vegan because I know that I won’t be perfect at it. Take yesterday. I ate a giant brownie with icing, and I told myself it was probably vegan because it looked like it involved shortening instead of butter.

Oh, and I made meatloaf last week.


In the back of my mind is a herd of glowing, energized vegans carrying half watermelons and bushels of bananas to throw at me. Eating no dairy or meat in the middle of Texas is hard enough; imagine the ridicule that might ensue if I become a vegan publicly and then got caught eating gelato.

So I guess I’m not a vegan, but I’m aiming to eat a vegan diet. Problem, as they say, Le Solved.

I KNOW. You are like, “I do not care about your objections to the vegan community. You said there was cake.”

There is! There is cake. Apple cupcakes, to be more specific. Applesauce spice cake was one of the first things I ever baked and really loved, so it’s a comfort food for me now, and I wanted to come up with a cupcake recipe. This version has all kinds of fun ingredients, like coconut oil and spelt flour. And yep! It’s vegan.


Cinnamon Applesauce Spelt Cupcakes
Makes 8-10 cupcakes

This recipe is adapted from my Lavender Vanilla Vegan Cupcakes, which are adapted from the Minimalist’s Baker’s Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes.

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup coconut oil (liquid – heat in microwave in increments of 10 seconds if not liquid)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups spelt flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

½ cup Earth Balance (or other vegan butter), softened
3 cups powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Almond milk, as needed

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a muffin tin with 10 cupcake wrappers.

2. Measure out almond milk and add apple cider vinegar. Let curdle while preparing other ingredients.

3. In the microwave, warm applesauce slightly (so that it doesn’t turn the coconut oil to a solid). Add applesauce, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract to the bowl of a stand mixer, and blend, using the beater attachment.

4. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and stir, adding the almond milk a little at a time. If the almond milk is still chilled, microwave in increments of 10 seconds until it is warm (not hot).

5. Pour into cupcake cups and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

6. Let cool completely.

7. Meanwhile, make the icing. Combine vegan butter, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla and mix in a stand mixer (using the whisk attachment). Add almond milk a little at a time if the icing is too thick.

8. Ice cupcakes and enjoy!


  1. First, this recipe is amazing. I can’t wait to give them a shot! Second, I love the honesty of your post. The label “vegan” is so tough. While I am a vegan, I feel judged by others all the time! I’ve actually had some people make comments on Twitter and the blog about some of my personal choices… down to the TV shows I watch. No one is perfect! The #1 priority is doing what feels right for you. The least harm and most good. I recently changed my banner to “a plant-based lifestyle” instead of “vegan lifestyle” due to the amount of obnoxious/rude comments. I really hope that we can all find a way to accept and celebrate our healthy, kind choices, rather than put each other down for the small mistakes and faults.

    That’s my rant! LOL But I really appreciated this post, because it definitely hit home to how I have felt about the term vegan and how much comes with it.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! I think the term “vegan” also scares other people away, whereas “plant-based diet” can sound more approachable. Maybe? Haha, I don’t know. Thanks for stopping by! And let me know if you make the cupcakes. 🙂 🙂

  2. These muffins look SO good. Love that you used apple sauce, it always makes baked goods so much more moist and delicious.. wish I had one to devour right now!

    1. I love applesauce in baked goods too! I love how it tastes indulgent but not super sweet. You can make them in one bowl and then you CAN devour one. Or all of them…as I seem to be doing…Thanks for stopping by, Thalia!

  3. These look so soft and delicious!!

  4. huntfortheverybest · · Reply

    i’ve got all the ingredients. i’m going to make these. they look great!

  5. I always enjoy your posts, Randle, and the cupcakes look heavenly (I never liked traditional cupcakes, they are usually too dense, rich, messy to eat… but these sound light and delicate). I think you should just do what feels right and best for you; labels are not important, and people who are obsessed with labels can be so tiresome.
    I really enjoy experimenting with vegan ingredients because I just love to cook and try out new things, and like you certain things freak me out, especially highly processed substitutions for traditional things like butter, mayo, meat (fake meat? why???)… I don’t mind making my own vegan substitutions if I can actually make them myself using real ingredients, but store-bought vegan mayo probably contains more sh… than mayo made with a yummy yolk from a free range chicken. I do love my home-made vegan ricotta and nut milks, and I’ve even used tofu as a substitution for chicken in a Persian stew, and it was awesome. I’ve recently tried making vegan muffins and they turned out great, so maybe I’ll try out cupcakes next time!

    1. Hi Darya! You are so right. I always think homemade mayonnaise with a fresh egg is probably better for me than soy something. Thanks for stopping by as usual, and thanks for your encouragement! Isn’t it weird when your blog changes on you? I started out as one thing, and now I’m becoming something else. I guess that’s half the fun. 🙂


  7. HAs anyone tried it with regular flour?

  8. So I made these, but substituted the spelt flour for gluten-free flour and my cupcakes are yummy but dense. Is it because of the gluten-free flour? Also, the batter was very very runny. And my icing kind of melted? Before I put them on the cupcakes.. Too much almond milk maybe?
    Either way, they are yummy!! Thank you for the recipe!

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